- Tongs which have long arms terminating in small flat circular ends of tongs and are pivoted close to the handle, as in the common fire-tongs, used for picking up pieces of coal and placing them on a fire.
- Tongs consisting of a single band of metal bent round one or two bands joined at the head by a spring, as in sugar-tongs (a pair of usually silver tongs with claw-shaped or spoon-shaped ends for serving lump sugar), asparagus-tongs and the like.
- Tongs in which the pivot or joint is placed close to the gripping ends, such as a driller's round tongs, blacksmith's tongs or crucible-tongs.
Tongs are commonly used as a kitchen utensil, as they provide a way to move, rotate and turn the food with delicate precision.
According to Pirkei Avot, a classical Jewish text of the third century of the common era, the first pair of tongs were created by God right before he rested on the Seventh Day. The reasoning is that a blacksmith must use a pair of tongs in order to fashion a new pair of tongs. Accordingly, God must have provided humankind with the first pair of tongs.